With the weather forecast for rain until Sunday, I decided to make the most of the last ‘nice’ day and head for the marsh. It turned out to be a good move with light southerly winds and a high of 22c. It was truly beautiful to be stood in the sunshine, blue sky to the horizon, all the summer warblers in full song and the heavy scent of Hawthorn filling the air…there are not many days that can beat that!
To add to the spectacle was the endless yellow of the oilseed rape covering the fields, ditches, banks and verges, fabulous. I decided to walk from the old log along Brook Furlong Lane and across to the I.C.I tank, then walk around it and back via the path along the Weaver Bend and back to the old log where I was parked. Whitethroat seemed to be everywhere with smaller numbers or Sedge and Reed Warbler, and then a few Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Willow Warbler. But other than the warblers it was quiet. A Little Ringed Plover on the ‘Bend’, a displaying Common Buzzard near to the I.C.I tank and plenty of Lapwing chicks watched over by their anxious parents.
As I reached the start of the path along the Weaver Bend back to Redwall reed bed I noticed several black and red beetle-type insects on the oilseed rape, which flew or hid when I approached. In the end I managed to pin one down (not literally) and managed to take a photograph.
Red and Black Froghopper Cercopis vulnerata, a common species but the first I remember seeing here. I’d never seen a froghopper fly either! I carried on taking the overgrown path to the old log (situated at the south-east corner of No.1 tank), rather than over the stile and across the field. The parasitic Nomada wasps were plentiful at the beginning of the track as was a jet black hoverfly which needs identifying. I enjoyed my cheese buttie and coffee lunch before moving onto to the south side of No.6 tank.
From the top of the bank with the sun behind me, the waders could be watched in comfort and as the Black-tailed Godwit flock was just beneath me I stood and enjoyed watching them feed in earnest. There were 138 which included a colour-ringed bird from Iceland, 2 Avocet and another Little Ringed Plover. I quietly left and headed for the car just as a female Marsh Harrier flew along the fields between me and the motorway. A great bird and a fitting end to a quiet but interesting day on the marshes.
Observer and images: Tony Broome.